Headlight Care: How to Make Your Headlights Last a Long Time

How to Make Your Headlights Last a Long Time

Many who love their vehicle will do anything for it, including taking it in for routine maintenance, running it through the carwash regularly and fixing minor concerns with the interior. However, an often overlooked aspect of vehicle care is ensuring the headlights remain in good condition. The headlights can play a vital role in the appearance and safety of the vehicle.

There are certain tips for taking care of your headlights that vehicle owners can implement to reduce the risk of them becoming dirty, oxidized, damaged or simply worn down. Headlights can remain in ideal condition for well over a decade with proper care.

The following is a complete overview of how to care for your headlights, including how long you can expect your headlights to last, useful tips and when to consider a replacement set.

How long do headlights last?

Whereas the headlight bulbs may only last for around two years, the headlights, or headlamps, can remain in good condition for more than 15 years with proper care. On average, vehicle owners can expect their headlights to begin to wear down between 10 and 15 years.

Of course, there are many factors that affect how long headlights last. They most often require early replacement if they become damaged. Oxidized headlights are another concern that can cause the headlights to need early replacement. In some instances, the owner may choose to replace them more often to keep the vehicle looking its best.

5 tips for taking care of your headlights

You do not have to service your headlights every day to keep them in good condition for more than ten years. However, having a good headlight care routine in place is important for ensuring they stay clean, looking great and do not develop any issues that cause a safety concern.

Most headlight care tips are easy and only take a moment to properly implement, and the results can mean your headlights stay in good condition for years longer. Here are five useful tips for getting the most out of your headlights and avoiding any early replacements.

Inspect your headlights

Although cleaning your headlights every day is not necessary, it is helpful to get into a consistent habit of checking them. Early signs of headlight issues are not always obvious. You can detect many early issues by simply taking a look before you get into your vehicle each day.

When you inspect your headlights, check to see if they are dirty or if there are signs of damage such as a crack or a chip. It is also encouraged to check them regularly while the headlights are on to see if they shine the way they should or if they appear dim. You should also check for oxidation as well.

Clean them regularly

Dirty headlights are not typically a major concern, but they may contribute to oxidation if they exist for an extended period of time. In the short term, dirty headlights can restrict the light that comes from the headlight bulbs, making it more challenging to see your surroundings while driving.

Cleaning headlights regularly makes the headlight care process easy. All you need is a soft cloth, soap and water. You may also use Windex as well. Be sure to scrub in a thorough manner and remove all built-up dirt and debris that exists on and around your headlights.

Replace damaged headlights

It is hard to restore damage to headlights. In many instances, it is more cost-effective to replace damaged headlights rather than trying to have them repaired. While a minor scrape may not be a cause for concern, it is encouraged to replace moderate to severe damage for proper headlight care.

There are many different ways in which your headlights may become damaged. They may become damaged due to an auto collision, golf ball or falling tree branch. Even if only one headlight is damaged, it is often best to go ahead and replace the entire headlight set.

Check for oxidized headlights

Oxidized headlights are a huge concern and one of the main reasons for headlight set replacement. Headlights can become oxidized due to long-term exposure to UV light that causes the plastic to become clouded. This is a safety concern as it makes headlights appear dim, and it affects the vehicle’s appearance as well.

Vehicle owners should check for signs of foggy, faded and clouded headlights when checking to see if they are oxidized. Minor oxidation may improve by using a quality headlight restoration kit, but severely oxidized headlights likely require replacement. Regular headlight care can reduce the risk of headlight oxidation.

Invest in a quality replacement set

Proper care for your headlights can make headlights last a long time, but eventually they will require replacement for either safety or aesthetic reasons. Since not all replacement sets are created equal, it is important to know how to find a high-quality set.

First and foremost, consider the year and make of your vehicle. Based on the information, be sure to pick headlights that match the specific model. It is also encouraged to check the customer reviews of the headlights if they are available. If not, then checking the reviews of the supplier should give you an accurate indication of the quality of the headlights and reliability of the supplier.

To find the replacement headlight set that is right for you, check out our sister website Headlights Depot. They offer quality replacement sets from dozens of different makes and models.

The bottom line

You can lengthen the lifespan of your headlights by taking proper care of them. Through simple routine tasks such as checking for early signs of damage or oxidation, keeping them clean and replacing them when necessary, you can ensure you always have headlights that look great and make seeing the road and other drivers much easier.

Headlights can last for more than a decade with proper headlight care. If, however, headlights do become oxidized, damaged in any way or begin to look worn down and outdated, then investing in a quality replacement set is encouraged.

Aaron Westbury
Aaron is a content writer with a passion for cars. He enjoys learning new things and loves to share what he learns with others. Aaron also has a Bachelor's in English and years of experience as a writer, and he constantly seeks to improve and make his writing more informative and helpful for readers. Although a writer by day, Aaron enjoys his free time by getting outdoors and staying active anyway he can.

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    1. In sunny South Florida, it’s all about the sun. Headlights are made of plastic and all plastic and rubber fade in the sun. Depending on where you live or where you park, you have to prepare for the eventual replacement of plastic and rubber parts, headlights included.

    2. I’m assuming temperature differentials in the north will cause warping, too?

      1. Yes, Heat and drastic fluctuation of temperature can cause ware on most anything

    3. Im pretty mindful. I am a car enthusiast so I try to keep my car parked in the shade as much as possible and wash my car as often as possible too. It is a lifestyle.

    4. If possible, you’ll want to keep the lights out of direct sunlight. Places like Florida, California, and Texas (known for getting a lot of sun) can also decrease the life expectancy of the lights and cause them to discolor faster if kept out in the sun.

    5. Often headlights are overlooked. This is really informative and good to know. Also, headlights last longer whether they are outside or some have a garage that definitely plays a major role as well.

    6. I have seen first hand how much of a difference shade can make on an entire vehicle, including the headlights lifespan. These pointers are helpful if shade isn’t necessarily an option.

    7. I think it is definitely important to not overdo it in your “care” for your headlights as well. Restoration kits with harsh chemicals may strip away protective coatings and only result in further oxidation. Also overdoing it with buffing may be doing more harm than good. The article hard it right. When it comes to care, it is better to have consistent cleanings with a soft cloth than to wait until the oxidation is so bad that you are taking extreme measures. Preventive care is key.

    8. Don’t forget about Ceramic coating headlights! The coating will keep the headlight looking new longer. Just like a paint, the clear coat on the headlight will be harder and more durable.

    9. I don’t think many headlights these days last 10-15 years. Most headlights are made of plastic with a UV coating, this coating may deteriorate in as little as 2-3 years depending on where you live and the angle of the lens.

    10. It’s important to keep them clean and try to park your car in an area that is protected from the elements. That not only helps the longevity of the lights, but the exterior of the entire vehicle. The sun, bugs, snow, dirt…all of that is bad news if you don’t keep them clean.

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